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Thread: Still don't know what I want to do (with my career and life)...

  1. #1
    wlh22
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    Question Still don't know what I want to do (with my career and life)...

    I am 28 years old with a bachelors + MBA (from top 50 US business school) and still don't know what to do with my life.

    How am I supposed to figure it out? If it helps...

    1) When I try to introspect, I feel lost.
    2) During my MBA, my then gf dumped me (my only relationship till date) and it wasn't an amicable breakup, which resulted in complete mental trauma for me during my (probably) most important time of career, affecting or clouding my decisions to take courses and do job search (decide job/company) and also affecting my study performance
    3) I took a huge loan (about 50 K USD) to do the MBA which means, although I don't enjoy my job currently, I have to stick it out for 2-3 years to repay the loan (Thankfully I have a job and it pays well ... 80K before taxes)
    4) I can't quit my job as I am on visa which means I have to back to my home country if I quit the job
    5) I started looking for a job outside (corporate) but since my 1 year at my current company hasn't been great (incapable and micromanaging boss + bad work profile), I feel like my post-mba experience is ridiculous and is not helping me land a job. I rarely get interviews + I had one and they said although they liked me they chose someone with more experience
    6) I am starting to realize that you get pigeonholed on what types of jobs you can do (function or industry) - at least in major companies - based on your current/prior experience. Which makes me very scared because I hate my current work and not sure if I am in the right industry
    7) I couldn't sleep last night thinking about where am I with my life? Huge loan, not happy with the career and a failed relationship. I used to be one of the smarted and also most successful (and likeable) people in school/undergrad/work before mba. So, what is happening now?
    8) If I really look back the happiest days of my life were when I was in my home country with a modest job with a modest pay with the girl that I loved and a couple of good/close friends and doing a bit of volunteering work and music on the side.
    9) I can't help but think my life (personal and professional) are going downhill
    10) And I still don't know what I should do for my career and my life in general.
    10) And I feel like an idiot these days for taking up such a bold step of MBA and now not knowing what to do with my career (I understand external circumstances such as economy and relationships played a role but still)


    Many people on ENA have great life experiences and your inputs are really needed. Anything ranging from advice on career counselors to financial priorities to anything... is appreciated.

    Thank you folks.

  2. #2
    Nixee
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    I'm 30 years old and still don't know what I want to do with my life.

    Well..... that is not entirely true. My life has been derailed at least a couple times by extenuating circumstances, and I kinda know what would make me happy... but I'm certainly not there yet!

    The best thing *I* can tell you is to 1) take a moment to be grateful for what you DO have right now.
    - your education. No one can take that away from you, and even if you don't know what you will do with it yet exactly, you can certainly put it to a number of good uses.
    - your current job. The money you make is GOOD for today. Many people are unemployed right now, or stuck just barely making ends meet. If you can power through gets loans paid off... that is huge!

    So... 28 is really quite young truthfully. I just told you I am older and already got derailed on the way to my grad degree and will have to start over (debt and all). You are a step up.

    As for what to do...
    I think you have already begun to figure out that feeling fulfilled can be far more important than simply earning a decent check. So now it is time to soul search and figure out what might make you TRULY happy.
    Do you like to travel? Stay home? Where do you like to or need to live?
    Do you like to write? Work with others? Manage? Work with the public? Create? Design? Sell? Etc. Etc. You might be surprised the number of opportunities you can find for yourself and the goals you can set.

  3. #3
    turnera
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    You're only 28. You have PLENTY of time to find another career. Trust me. Do you know where most of the Lutheran church's pastors come from? From people in their 40s and 50s who decide to change careers and go back to seminary school.

    Find a place that does those personality tests, the really good ones; you can probably go to your college's psychology department for that. It will help you learn what you really are interested in, and then you can start focusing on that industry. Take your time. Maybe do some volunteering in different industries to see what you like.

    Start researching companies that do what you like. Take these 2 years to (1) strengthen your resume with great achievements at your current job, (2) do any training you need to qualify for the other, new industry, and (3) networking with people in that industry to start getting a foot in the door; link removed is a GREAT place to do this and according to HR people, now the #1 place to go to get your next job.

    Take your time. You'll be fine.

  4. #4
    RelaxByWater84
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    There was study done, I forget when and where, just remember reading it and it said that people today will change careers three to four times in their lifetimes.

  5. #5
    wlh22
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    Thank you so much Nixee. I am sure that many people even at old age (40+ or even 50+) don't know what they want. I am somehow afraid it is going to stop me from becoming successfully (unfortunately I have been comparing myself with peers lately and I know its not good - I need to tell myself that from time to time)

    Somehow I am afraid, by not knowing what I want right now, I may not be able to get IT (once I come to know) in future.

    You are absolutely right about the other things.
    - I am thankful about what I have and am trying even further to make sure I thank God for the same
    - I also have realized being fulfilled is more important that having money (which actually I already knew and always believed in)
    - but maybe I am developing a sort of competitive mindset - where I compare myself with others - from my graduate school peer group. I guess that's the culture Corporate environment breeds. It's all about the biggest person. But I need to learn to not get it to my head.
    - But I still need to figure out a job/career that will really make me happy / keep me engaged
    - I am thinking about something administrative - in government - where I can impact the country I come from. Let's see what future holds.

    Thank you for your response

  6. #6
    Nixee
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    We can all fall victim to comparing from time to time, especially to those we have learned and grown with... but it rarely does us any good because in the end - you are your own person. What fulfills someone else simply may not fulfill you.

    The other thing to think about is that if you end up doing something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, chances are you WILL end up being successful, and possibly even making more money. Now, that may not be the case, depending on what your chosen field is, but I think you have already taught yourself that money cannot buy you happiness anyhow, so beyond being comfortable and taken care of, it is not the top factor, and once again should not be the measure of "success", nor a factor of comparison amongst peers.

    If making a difference at a governmental level has an appeal to you, perhaps your next step is research. If you know what sort of impact you might like to make, or what interests you most about it, you might look into making contacts in that field.

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